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GS PAPER I

Sardar Sarovar Dam

Why in News

According to the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL), for the first time in the history of the dam, as many as 35 dams and reservoirs, close to 1,200 check dams and 1000 village tanks have been filled with Narmada water this year.

Sardar Sarovar Narmada Dam

  • The Sardar Sarovar project was a vision of the first deputy Prime Minister of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
  • The foundation stone of the project was laid out by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on April 5, 1961 after carrying out a study on the usage of the Narmada River water that flowed through the states of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat and into the Arabian Sea.
  • A project report prepared for the dam led to much dispute over the means of distributing the Narmada water among the three states- Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
  • As the negotiations bore no fruit, a Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal (NWDT) was created in 1969 to decide the fate of the project.
  • The project has the potential to feed as many as 20 million people, provide domestic and industrial water for about 30 million, employ about 1 million, and provide valuable peak electric power in an area with high unmet power demand.
  • The Sardar Sarovar Narmada Dam is a terminal dam built on the Narmada River at Kevadia in Gujarat’s Narmada district.
  • It is also known as the ‘lifeline of Gujarat’, usually has no water for irrigation during summers.
  • However, in 2021, in the ongoing summer, the dam released about 1.3 million Acre Feet (MAF) water for irrigation between April 1 and May 31 in its command area of 21.29 lakh hectares.

River Narmada

  • River Narmada is a classic case of Integrated River Basin Planning, Development, and Management, with water storage available in all major, medium, and minor dams on the main river and its tributaries.
  • It shared amongst four states – Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra — in the ratio stipulated by the 1979 award of the Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal.
  • Out of the 28 MAF capacity of Narmada basin:
  • Gujarat has been awarded a share of 9 MAF,
  • Madhya Pradesh has 18.25 MAF,
  • Rajasthan has 0.50 MAF, and
  • Maharashtra has 0.25 MAF.
  • The power benefits from the project are to be shared thus: Madhya Pradesh at 57 per cent, Maharashtra at 27 per cent, and Gujarat at 16 per cent.
  • In 2017, the dam was raised to a height of 138.68 meters and 30 gates were installed.
  • The dam achieved its Full Reservoir Level (FRL) for the first time in 2019.

Significance of Full Reservoir Level (FRL)

  • Although the Sardar Sarovar Dam was inaugurated in September 2017, it could not be filled up to the FRL of 138.68 meters in 2017 and 2018 due to monsoon deficit.
  • However, good rainfall in the catchment in 2019 and 2020, ensured that it achieved FRL for two consecutive years.
  • The live storage capacity of the Sardar Sarovar Dam increased by 3.7 times after the permission to close the gates was received in 2017.
  • The annual share allocated to Gujarat during the last two water years was 8.86 MAF (million acre-feet) in 2019 and 10.08 MAF in 2020, respectively.
  • However, in 2019-20, reservoir operation and water management were constrained a lot because it was the first time that the dam was to be filled to full capacity and stringent safety considerations were to be followed in order to check the strength of the structure for the first time.

GS PAPER II

G7 Summit

Why in News

At the invitation of UK Prime Minister, Prime Minister of India will participate in the Outreach Sessions of the G7 Summit on June 12 and June 13, virtually.

G7 Summit 2021

  • The 47th G7 summit is going to happen on 11–13 June 2021 in the United Kingdom.
  • The theme for the summit is ‘Build Back Better’ and the UK has outlined four priority areas for its presidency.
  • The UK currently holds the presidency of the G7 and has invited India, along with Australia, Republic of Korea and South Africa, as guest countries for the Summit.
  • The 2020 summit was ultimately cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The main topic of conversation will be Covid recovery, including “a stronger global health system that can protect us all from future pandemics”.
  • The meetings will be held in hybrid mode.

Significance for India

  • India has long called for reforming global institutions and groupings to reflect modern-day geopolitical realities.
  • With an assertive China looming, the US is calling all like-minded countries to partner in dealing with Beijing. If the US and UK want to take the leap forward and constitute a global democratic alliance of 10-11 countries, it will be an important signal.
  • As India faces a massive shortage of vaccines, India will be watching the allocation announced by the US President very carefully.
  • A US statement said they will begin sharing the “first 25 million doses of Covid vaccines” as part of the framework for sharing at least 80 million vaccines globally by the end of June. This means that India is likely to get vaccines from the US — both directly as well as through COVAX.
  • On Washington’s rapprochement with Moscow, India will be extremely relieved as the US can then focus on China. While that is easier said than done, drawing away Russia from Beijing could be one of the game-changers in current geo-politics.

History of India in G-7 Summit

  • Since 2014, this is the second time India will be participating in a G7 meeting.
  • India had been invited by the G7 French Presidency in 2019 to the Biarritz Summit as a “Goodwill Partner” and India participated in the Sessions on ‘Climate, Biodiversity and Oceans’ and ‘Digital Transformation’.
  • During Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s UPA rule, India attended the G8 Summit five times.
  • Russia was indefinitely suspended in March 2014 after the annexation of Crimea, reducing the count of the G8.
  • While the UK has invited India in 2021, the US under President Donald Trump had also extended an invitation to India 2020.
  • Calling the G7 a “very outdated group” in May 2020, the former US president had stated that he would like to include India, Australia, South Korea and Russia in the grouping of the largest advanced economies.
  • The former US president had suggested that the Group of 7 be called “G10 or G11” and proposed that the grouping meet in September or November 2020.
  • That, however, did not happen owing to the pandemic and the US elections’ outcome.

G7 Summit

  • The Group of Seven (G7) is a forum of the world’s seven largest developed economies.
  • It has its roots in an informal meeting of the finance ministers of France, West Germany, the U.S, Great Britain, and Japan (the Group of Five) in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis.
  • That, in turn, inspired the French President to invite the leaders of those countries, and Italy, to Rambouillet in 1975 for further discussions on global oil.
  • In 1976, Canada was invited to join the group and the first meeting with all G-7 nations was hosted by the United States which was held in Puerto Rico in 1976.
  • Members: France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, the United States of America, Canada and Japan.
  • The G-7 responded as the global economy evolved.
  • In 1991, the Soviet Union pledged to create an economy with freer markets and held its first direct presidential election.
  • Following the 1994 G7 meeting in Naples, Russian President held meetings with G-7 member countries and became known as the P-8 (Political 8).
  • In 1998, Russia was added to the G-7 group as a full-time member, creating a formal G-8.
  • However, in 2014, Russia was suspended from the group after the annexation of Crimea and tensions in Ukraine.

GS PAPER II

UN Secretary-General

Why in News

The United Nations Security Council formally approved Secretary-General António Guterres for a second term, assuring that the former Prime Minister of Portugal retains the top job for five more years starting January 1, 2022.

Key Points

  • According to Reuters, the recommendation will now go to the 193-member General Assembly, which is expected to make the appointment on June 18.
  • António Guterres at the age of 72, started his first term in 2017, becoming the 9th UN chief since the international body’s founding in 1945.
  • While there are no term limits applicable to this post, no Secretary-General has so far served more than two terms.

Appointment of UN Secretary-General

  • The Secretary-General of United Council is appointed by the UN General Assembly on the recommendation of the UN Security Council.
  • The Secretary-General’s selection is therefore subject to the veto of any of the five permanent members of the Security Council, as per the UN website.
  • Essentially, the Secretary-General is chosen during closed-door sessions of the Security Council, and approval by the General Assembly is seen more as a formality.
  • The five permanent members of the 15-nation-strong Security Council – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States – are the most powerful players in this process as any one of them can eliminate a candidature by a veto.
  • The US used this power to deny Egypt’s Boutros-Ghali a second term in 1997 and China did the same in 1981 for denying Austria’s Waldheim a third term.
  • The 10 elected non-permanent members of the Security Council, of which India is currently a part, do not have veto powers, but their backing is still crucial as a candidate requires at least nine out of 15 votes to be recommended for the top job.
  • For any candidate to have a real chance at being considered for the top post, a recommendation by any UN member state is essential.
  • A resolution adopted by the General Assembly in 2015 made the selection process more open and transparent, allowing member states for the first time to see basic information about all candidates, including their resumes, and to question them at open sessions, as per the Associated Press.

Role of UN Secretary-General

  • According to the UN Charter, the Secretary-General as the body’s “chief administrative officer”, act in that capacity and perform “such other functions as are entrusted” to them by the Security Council, General Assembly, Economic and Social Council and other United Nations organs.
  • The UN website defines the role as “equal parts diplomat and advocate, civil servant and CEO,” and “a symbol of United Nations ideals and a spokesperson for the interests of the world’s peoples, in particular the poor and vulnerable among them”.
  • The Secretary-General’s day-to-day work includes:
  • Attendance at sessions of United Nations bodies;
  • Consultations with world leaders, government officials, and others; and
  • Worldwide travel intended to keep the Secretary-General in touch with the peoples of the UN member states, as per the body’s website.
  • As per the Council on Foreign Relations, all Secretaries-General have come from member states considered to be small- or medium-sized neutral powers, and a regional rotation is observed.

GS PAPER III

Beed model of crop insurance

Why in News

Recently, Maharashtra Chief Minister met Prime Minister and asked him for state-wide implementation of the ‘Beed model’ of the crop insurance scheme Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bhima Yojana (PMFBY).

Beed Insurance Scheme

  • The ’Beed Insurance Scheme’ was launched in 2016, under the flagship Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana.
  • It is a central sponsored scheme implemented by State Agriculture Departments as per central guidelines.
  • It ensures farm losses against inclement weather events.
  • Farmers pay 1.5-2% of the premium with the rest borne by the state and central governments.
  • For farmers, the low rate of premium and relatively decent coverage makes the scheme attractive.
  • Before 2020, the scheme was optional for farmers who did not have loans pending, but mandatory for loanee farmers. Since 2020, it has been optional for all farmers.
  • A total of 422 lakh farmers in the country had enrolled for the scheme paying a combined premium of Rs 3,018 crore and insuring 328 lakh hectares in 2019-20.
  • Till date, 184.9 lakh framers have received claims worth Rs 20,090 crore.

Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bhima Yojana (PMFBY)

  • The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) was launched on 18 February, administered by Ministry of Agriculture.
  • It is an insurance service for farmers for their yields. It was formulated in line with One Nation–One Scheme theme by replacing earlier two schemes:
  • National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) and
  • Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (MNAIS), by incorporating their best features and removing their inherent drawbacks (shortcomings).
  • It aims to reduce the premium burden on farmers and ensure early settlement of crop assurance claim for the full insured sum.
  • It also aims to provide a comprehensive insurance cover against failure of the crop thus helping in stabilizing the income of the farmers.
  • The Scheme covers all Food & Oilseeds crops and Annual Commercial/Horticultural Crops for which past yield data is available and for which requisite number of Crop Cutting Experiments (CCEs) are being conducted under General Crop Estimation Survey (GCES).
  • The scheme is implemented by empaneled general insurance companies.

GS PAPER III

Dihing Patkai Assam’s 7th National Park

Why in News

Dehing Patkai wildlife sanctuary was notified as the 7th National Park of Assam.

Key Points

  • The announcement comes shortly after Raimona reserve forest in western Assam’s Kokrajhar district was upgraded to a national park on June 5.
  • Before that, Assam had five national parks:
  • Kaziranga National Park,
  • Nameri National Park,
  • Orang National Park,
  • Manas National Park and
  • Dibru-Saikhowa National Park.
  • With Raimona and Dehing Patkai, Assam now have seven National Parks.
  • The new parks would help promote conservation efforts and aid tourism and agriculture sectors as well.
  • Assam now is the state with the second highest number of national parks in the country, after Madhya Pradesh’s 11.
  • The Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar has nine national parks.
  • Last year in April, Dehing Patkai was in focus after a series of virtual protests highlighted rampant illegal coal mining in the area.
  • The immediate trigger was the National Board of Wildlife’s (NBWL) conditional clearance to a coal mining project by Coal India Limited (CIL) in the Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve.
  • It led to North Eastern Coalfields (NEC), the CIL subsidiary, temporarily suspending all mining operations in the region.

Dehing Patkai wildlife sanctuary

  • The 111.942-sqkm Dehing Patkai wildlife sanctuary is located inside the larger Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve, which spreads across Dibrugarh, Tinsukia and Sivasagar districts of Upper Assam (rich in coal and oil).
  • It is believed to be the last remaining contiguous patch of lowland rainforest area in Assam.
  • As a national park, it will now include additional reserve forests measure 234.26 sq. km. Forest Village area diverted under Forest Conservation Act has been excluded.
  • Known for its elephant population, Dehing Patkai has 47 mammal species, 47 reptile species and 310 butterfly species. The area is especially a draw for ornithologists since it is said to have the highest concentration of the rare endangered White Winged Wood Duck.

Raimona national park

  • Located in Kokrajhar district of the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) in lower Assam, Raimona national park will be spread across 422 sq km.
  • The Raimona national park is surrounded by the Phipsoo Wildlife Sanctuary in Bhutan to its north, the Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal to its west and the Manas National Park to its east.
  • With eleven different forest types and subtypes, the area is home to the golden langurs, elephants, tiger, clouded leopard, several species of orchids and has more than 150 species of butterflies, 170 species of birds besides 380 species of plants.
  • Conservation of this area will provide water security to more than 2 million people downstream in Kokrajhar and Dhubri districts, will open opportunities for community-based tourism and focused wildlife management.

National Parks

  • It is large natural or near natural areas set aside to protect large-scale ecological processes, along with the complement of species and ecosystems characteristic of the area.
  • It also provides a foundation for environmentally and culturally compatible spiritual, scientific, educational, and recreational and visitor opportunities.